US to seek extension of key arms control treaty with Russia

The US would seek a five-year extension of an expiring arms control treaty between Washington and Moscow, according to reports on Thursday.

Citing US officials, multiple media outlets reported that the Joe Biden administration would seek a full five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which expires on February 5, Xinhua news agency reported.

Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Biden would extend the treaty.

“I know that he does intend to seek an extension, and we have to make a decision as President about what duration we would seek,” Blinken said during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The New START can be extended by a maximum of five years with the consent of the two countries. The treaty, which stipulates limits to the numbers of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems, is the last remaining nuclear arms control pact in force between the two nuclear superpowers.

The former Trump administration tried to conclude a shorter extension of the treaty last year after rounds of negotiation with Russia, but the two sides failed to finalize a formal agreement.